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Osages discuss 2010 candidates, election hot topics and politics online

Blogs, online group activity become lightning rod for political talk, arguments
The main page on the Osage Shareholders Association Web site. Photo by Chalene Toehay/Osage News

With about four months to go before Osages head to the election polls, tribal members and candidates are sending messages regarding the latest political rumors, news reports and personal observations and opinions on all election-related topics into cyberspace for most to see.

Several people planning to run for the Osage Nation Congress, Minerals Council and for the principal chief and assistant principal chief’s offices have established their own campaign Web sites and/ or use other tribal member-targeted Web sites to communicate with the voters. But those Web sites allowing public feedback and e-mail exchanges have turned into lightning rods for information sharing and heated political debates amongst those following Osage politics.

One of the recent heated online exchanges involved former Oklahoma state representative Scott BigHorse, who plans to run for assistant principal chief, and Jenny Miller who is running for a Congressional seat. BigHorse and Miller shared their concerns about each other last month through e-mails sent to members of the Texas Osage Yahoo! Group.

“Just FYI, Ms. Miller is spreading rumors that I am a (Osage Nation Principal Chief) Jim Gray puppet. For your information I am no one’s puppet,” BigHorse wrote in a Jan. 19 message to the group members. “I read and do my own homework and vote my own mind. For someone to make that kind of statement about me without consulting with me or just asking me straight out where I stand makes that person a little suspicious at best.”

Miller responded to BigHorse’s e-mail on Jan. 23 and made a copy of these two e-mails available on her campaign Web site. “I find it unfortunate that the time has to be taken on what I consider a non-issue,” Miller wrote, adding that BigHorse “is not on my list of issues” but feels she has “no choice but to respond due to Ms. Cass having taken a position on the matter.”

There was no copy of e-mail correspondence from a person identified as Ms. Cass included with BigHorse and Miller’s e-mail copies. The Texas Osage Yahoo! Group does not keep an open message board for group members to see each other’s correspondence like a blog does, so e-mails sent by members including BigHorse and Miller are only sent to other members’ personal e-mail addresses.

Miller, who is an Executive Branch critic, wrote in her e-mail she was skeptical of BigHorse “given that he defended this administration to me…” during an exchange six months ago and she identified BigHorse’s family members who either have ties to Chief Gray or the Minerals Council who have taken political positions she opposes. For example, Miller notes that BigHorse’s father, Minerals Council member Kenneth BigHorse Sr., believes the Osage Minerals Estate belongs to the Nation’s newly-formed government while she believes the Minerals Estate should belong to the shareholders.

“Once again, please keep in mind,” Miller writes. “It was NOT I who brought this to your attention but Scott. Though he has not been an issue previously, he has made himself one now due to his attempt to discredit me.”

“I will not buy into running a negative campaign,” wrote BigHorse, “but it seems that others are doing just that and that is what we do not need to be able to move forward as a Tribe or Nation.”

These e-mail copies on Miller’s Web site are titled: “A Taste of Things to Come?”

In a late development, BigHorse contacted the Osage News Thursday afternoon – the same day this story was posted to the newspaper’s Web site and provided a copy of an e-mail he wrote to Miller in response to her Jan. 23 e-mail.

“Jenny I did not slander you or throw mud at you, the only thing I did was inform people that you are out there using my family name as puppets to JG,” BigHorse wrote. “I have a proven track record as a State Representative probably the only candidate that has experience with a three branch gov't that has been in existence for more than 100 years. I have always stood on my own two feet. I have a full time job supporting my family so I do not have the time to stay up all night thinking of things to write to people, you have now brought my Father's name into this as if he has done something wrong.”

BigHorse continued in his e-mail to defend his positions on the Minerals Estate. Copies of these e-mails can be viewed below.

Internet blogs, campaign Websites also used to discuss 2010 election

With the Nation’s election slated for June, concerns about how the polls will operate are becoming regular topics on the Osage Shareholder Association’s blog (launched in 2006) in which tribal members (shareholders or not) and interested parties use it to engage and inform each other. On Feb. 1, for example, an unidentified blogger posted the link to the Election Board’s Web site with the agenda for its Feb. 2 meeting which featured a presentation by two political science college professors who have studied election topics.

“In other words, do we really need another University ‘Project’ putting its stamp of approval, in this case, on our election by doing research that may not be reviewed for accuracy, methodology, nor potential research impact; or peer-reviewed?” asked a blogger identified as “P.S.” The Nation’s election process has been a long-standing hot topic among the OSA bloggers since several out-of-area voters complained about not receiving their absentee ballots in time for the Nation’s 2006 election.

Mary Lee Evans, OSA treasurer and one of several regular blog contributors wrote a Jan. 30 post, “Letter to all Congressman except Kugee,” asking them to “reread the 1906 Act of Congress” in regards to the upcoming Minerals Council election.

“Hope you guys will see to it that the elections are run honestly,” Evans wrote on the OSA blog. “Remember what goes around comes around. and (sic) the people are truly getting fed up with ridiculous actions by Jim Gray and some of the Congress and employees. I certainly am.”

Evans does not specify any “ridiculous actions” for example, but adds “I do not want the Osage Nation to be involved with the Minerals Council election!” No one has responded to this blog entry as of Feb. 3.

Absentee ballot request applications are now available online for the June election on the Election Board’s Web site at www.osagetribe.com and links to the application have been posted by OSA blogging candidates including Miller and Roy St. John, who is running for principal chief.

St. John and at least six candidates for Congress, the Minerals Council and the principal chief’s office have campaign Web sites outlining their reasons for seeking office and their professional and cultural backgrounds as well. So far, principal chief candidates John Red Eagle, Carl “Chico” Sellers and Tim Tall Chief have Web sites and so does Minerals Council candidate Myron Red Eagle and Congressional candidate Jake Heflin.

Miller, who includes her basic profile on her Web site is also posting copies of tribal government-related matters and electronic newsletters written by her and Congressman William “Kugee” Supernaw who writes “Notes to the Nation” via mass e-mail about newsmakers such as the recent Minerals Council trip to Washington D.C.

Yahoo! Groups being used to target out-of-state Osages

At least two Yahoo! Groups targeting Osages living in Texas and the Pacific Northwest are being used to allow tribal members in those regions to network and discuss anything related to the tribe.

David Conrad, the Nation’s executive director of government affairs, started the “Pacific Northwest Osages” group last month. Conrad, who previously worked in New Mexico and started a similar networking group for Osages in that state, decided to do the same for the region which covers Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Conrad lives part-time in Idaho where his wife, of Nez Perce heritage, is from and telecommutes for his job with the Osage Nation.

Nine people have joined the Pacific Northwest Osage group as of Feb. 2 and residents from the Oregon cities of Grants Pass, Ashland and Brookings have spurred group conversations to start networking.

To see messages from the election candidates submitted to the Osage News, go online to www.osagenews.org.

To view the initial e-mail correspondence between Scott BigHorse and Jenny Miller taken from Miller's Web site, click here: Initial e-mail correspondence between Scott BigHorse and Jenny Miller, taken from Miller's Web site To view the second e-mail correspondence between Scott BigHorse and Jenny Miller click here: E-mail correspondence between Scott BigHorse and Jenny Miller

Comments

At least the first part of what will become known as "The Dallas Series Speech" by `Chief Jim Gray' on why he should be re-elected Including one comment from old Homer_J, on a non-Osage perceptive. Music will be added. Other candidates are more then welcome (Ho-Wa) or is it Ho-We) to submit a C.D. or tape if you`re not coming to Dallas, and we`ll do are best to get out your `spoken words', platform and your thoughts of the important `Future of the Osage Nation.'We don`t endorse any candidate in any race,but only report what we see and hear.Coming on 2000 hits a day to our Osage Post-HostHomer_J `Blog Talk Radio Show' and on our Web-Site http://OsagePost.net so there you have it ,that`s how Old Homer_J got 11,000 votes and only used $45.00.Later~Homer_J.

Come join us at the "Blog Talk Radio" show `Osage Post-Host Homer_J'
Saturday March 13, 2010 5:30 P.M. Central Standard Time.
A new one hour Call-in Show, Toll Free 1-877-296-0340
Special Guest `W. Adair Rogers' of the "Osage 1700 Party"
Will be discussing the upcoming Osage Mineral Council election, their platform and possibly of drafting their own slate of candidates.
W.Adair Rogers E-Mail Will_rogers@gawab.com

Homer Fincannon:defendant #1022, along with those other 1700 defendant shareholders.Plus of course the Osage shareholders, what 2500 or so. Guess it`s time to come back to the Osage Hills, the place of my birth. The main thing this old man is looking for is someone that has a back bone, standing-up for what`s right since written in 1906. My Great Grand Father A.W. Comstock and his law partner, John Palmer helped in some of that law.
Got a `Blog Talk Radio' up every Saturday evening at 5:30 PM. Central Standard Time, listeners call-in number 1-646-727-2107,the show is set up for 30 minutes but can go up to 2 hours. Come join us at `Osage Post-Host Homer_J' that`s the show title. Will be interviewing different candidates for the Osage Mineral Council and the Osage Congress with my co-host Pawnee Billy Howell, remember what early day late Chief `Governor Joe' said, `Not Scared of Pawnees' I`ve got up a few old photos on http:// OsageCountyTribute.com. Including my Aunt `Daisy Ware Beach' which after 13 years in and through the United States Supreme Court, I`am number #1022.
Any doubt Just Google the late Daisy Ware Beach case. But, back to the present, been liking what some of the candidates have been putting out in the print. That Blog Talk Radio show may check out to see if any talking in , well later~ Homer_J

I've sat down and read Ms. Miller's newsletters. I've even visited with Ms. Miller, in the last year. I think that she is a very nice person. Still, I began questioning if she truly has the capabilities of what it is going to take, to be the productive member of ON Congress that she claims that she is going to be. My opinion on this - and, this is just my personal opinion - I do not believe that Jenny Miller truly has what it takes to do the job that she is claiming to have the necessary skills to do, if elected. To be quite honest, I feel that it would be a disastrous mistake, for our people.

All of these constituents are running for a place in our Osage government. Though it only may be for our tribe, and not our state or country, the Osage Nation - by popular vote - adopted the two-party system of law, for our people. Now, if you don't know the history of the US Government, history of our US Presidents, or how both have had very negative effects for North American Indigenous people - even to this day - then how am I supposed to believe that you are going to be the best candidate for the job?

I'm the type of person that I look at the little things during a campaign, because those little things tell a whole lot more about that person, than what that particular person is telling you about themselves. For example, why post a quote on your head of your newsletter, by a man (Thomas Jefferson), who was the mainstream factor in the Indian Removal Act; who authorized the use of genocide upon our people, and legalized hunting ALL Indian people - not matter the age or sex - like animals. Then, embraced the selling the skins, like they were animals. Had Ms Miller truly done her homework, I would like to think that she would not be utilizing a quote from spawn of Satan, at the top of her newsletter.

Though that last paragraph may seem trivial to some, I look at it as a tool. For those constituents who are looking for my vote, be prepared. (Remember last election, when my question to each constituent who approached me for my vote - "What does it take to amend the Constitution?") If you haven't done the research, nor have the knowledge to know what you're quoting, and the history of the person who stated it, how can I trust you to protect the issues that directly affect my family and me, as well as 11,000 other Osages? I can't, and I won't. Too-much has happened in the past four years, for us not to be more careful in who we chose for our leadership.

Now, before I go further, let me make it publically known that my grandmother, Mary Rose Bighorse Gann - Scott's only biological, paternal aunt.

I look at the argument taking place between Ms Miller and Mr. Scott Bighorse. I understand that there will be mudslinging and name calling during ANY campaign. But this has gotten to be pretty ridiculous!

Our members of Congress are one of the three parts that make up our Osage Nation Leadership. What SHOULD be the main benefactor in standing beside a constituent is what they stand for, their level of intelligence, and ability to back up their stated facts with physical proof. To assume that just because there are members of Mr. Bighorse's family, and members of Mr. Gray's family, who are married to one another, would automatically create some stronghold alliance between the two families, is just preposterous! That statement of skepticism that Ms. Miller made, pertaining to kinship/relationship of Scott and Mary Grace Bighorse, proves by her actions that she does not think before she speaks.

Ms. Miller also makes reference to Kenneth Bighorse having voiced his opinion that the Osage Minerals Council should be a part of the new Osage Government. As a shareholder, a member of this tribe, and a living, breathing, functioning human being in society, is he not entitled to have his own opinions? I'm not staying that I agree with his opinion, but there again, am I not entitled to that opinion, as well?

Because Kenneth is Scott's father, does that mean that Scott is obligated to NOT think for himself, and follow only the opinions of his father? Does that mean that Scott does not have a mind and opinion of his own, nor the ability to act and think upon his own thoughts and opinions?

Does that mean that I am obligated to give Scott Bighorse, my vote, to become our next Assistant Chief, because he is my grandmothers nephew? Olivia Gray is my maternal first cousin. Does that mean that I have an obligation to stand beside Chief Jim Gray (politically speaking), because he is her husband? Because both Jenny Miller's father, Bill Mashunkashey, and Debbie Atterberry's late mother, Addie Walker, are close cousins to both my grandmother and Kenneth Bighorse, does that mean that I have an obligation to vote for either Jenny or Debbie?

I have an obligation to myself, and ONLY myself, to vote for the person whom I feel is the best and most reliable candidate capable of performing the duties executed upon him or her that he or she swears to uphold and perform to the very best of their ability! It does not matter if that person is my mother, my father, my child, my husband, etc. If I am not convinced, and do not feel confident that they are capable of being the best candidate for the job then they are NOT getting my vote. It's that simple.

Again, I do not believe that Ms Miller is a bad person. Nor do I believe that she is not an intelligent. However, by the recent actions of Ms Miller, I do believe she is incapable of being the congressional leader that I want to represent my son, my family, or myself. And I do not believe that she is the most qualified individual for that position.

We are all exhausted and worn out by everything that has taken place - especially in the past two years - with our Osage Government. We are so hungry for change that we are forgetting to completely remove the blinders from our eyes, and totally go through EVERYTHING that ALL of the 2010 Osage Congressional and Executive Branch constituents are placing upon their platforms. Remember, they want to secure our votes in this next election. It's not just a matter of "convincing" the voter that you are the right person for the job, it's proving it by your actions. For you see, actions speak volumes over words, every day of the week!

The only person Jim Gray wants to protect is himself and his bank account. He has been job hunting all over the country (the real reason for so so so many trips) and everyone sees through him and his greedy ways. No one across Indian Country will hire him or give him the time of day. So what else can he do but run again. Everyone including Jim Gray knows we need a change in the leadership of Osage Nation. He has run his greedy course.

No about the lawsuit in Federal Count in Denver:

1. Did the Osage membership ask for this lawsuit in the first place? Was it voted on to proceed?

2. Does everyone realize this lawsuit is costing the Osage membership $1.2 million per year and it has been going on for 6 years. A lawsuit of this magnitude needs to be a decision by the "Will of the People" and not Jim Gray's folly. this $1.2 million each and every year could pay per capita payment once a year and a health card as well.

3. The U.S. Govt will not reverse itself not now not ever. AT the same time many think he pays the Seatle lawyers the $1.2 million and enjoys a kickback or why drag it out so long. Will he stop if the Supreme court kicks it out and refuses to hear the case or will he go back and try again.

4.If there is an Osage who does not want to pay State of Oklahoma taxes then go live on Indian Camp land -- simple as that. Some say there is only water lines for 20 homes in Indian Camp or more of us would live there. Tell Gray to improve the water line system instead of buying 1/2 of a "pile" --- oh excuse me I mean "mound". The $1.2 times 6 years and the $250,000 could pay for improved water and sewer lines at Indian Camp.

5. We are assured Gray will run again and it is time for every Osage to come to the aide of their tribal membership and not let hime win, even with his crooked campaign. Osage people deserve an honest Chief and a change in the present government.

6.Gray had an opportunity to purchase the land the casinos sit on so it is in trust and cannot be lost to the Osage people or foreited for taxes, but he chose not to do that. He had opportunity to buy land in the Tall Grass prairie and he chose to spend it on mounds and lawywers and lawsuits against his own people (K. Corbin and the Osage Congress) and so we ask, Who does he really care about -- himself or the Osage Nation???

I have to respond to at least one of Mr Polacca's statements. To start, let's look at this one.

"Evans does not specify any “ridiculous actions” for example, but adds “I do not want the Osage Nation to be involved with the Minerals Council election!” No one has responded to this blog entry as of Feb. 3."

I think this best answered by taking a look at her post in it's entirety.

"Perhaps you Congressmen that are pulling such devious actions to undermine the Minerals Council and the Shareholders.....(Greed must have set in) would feel better if you were in prison....I would vote for that...Put you somewhere that you could not be in a position to exercise unlawful methods...Please reread the 1906 Act of Congress....some of you and Jim Gray must be removed from your position on the Osage Congress.. I will certainly work to cause your removal in the next election... Hope you guys will see to it that the elections are run honestly.....remember what goes around comes around. and the people are truly getting fed up with ridiculous actions by Jim Gray and some of the Congress and employees. I certainly am I do not want the Osage Nation to be involved with the Minerals Council election! Mary Lee Evans Shareholder"

All of us who have been following the debate on the blog on a regular basis know exactly what she is talking about. To pull a quote out like that is taking it out of context. The least you could have done is quote her other post which would given it proper context. But the best explanation is own words.

"Since the Osage News brought it up that I explain my opinions on "Ridiculous Actions" I suppose that there are people that don't know..I have been in business for 45 years and it doesn't take a moron to see that what MR Gray has been demonstrating as a leader is sub quality for a "CHIEF". For instance...buying dirt without ok from our Congrss, Goin on expensive trips when money is not plentiful, Not following through on promises (A man is only as good as his word) not seeing that the Scholarships were paid in a timely manner, Health cards that were promised to our people as promised...in January and now it is February, holding up budgets, getting in the way of our Minerals Council elections..trying to stand in the way of free press... If I would think a little harder I could remember more...JIM GRAY get out of our way! Yes I am for "throwing you out" a Chief should protect the people...How is your name going down in History? And also...I see campaigning coming out of you bid on "Informing the people" of "Stratigic Planning". Give me a break! By the way...I hope you don't put your picture in the archives! "